Fall may be nearly here, but “hot labor summer” is not done yet.
On Tuesday, California State University employees are planning to rally ahead of a Long Beach meeting of the CSU Board of Trustees, who are finalizing a plan to raise tuition 6% annually for five years, according to the CSU Labor Coalition.
The coalition, a collection of labor unions that together represent almost 60,000 workers, is supporting its members amid contract negotiations for multiple unions.
“At the heart of negotiations is the demand for the CSU to improve wages significantly and restore step increases, which were unilaterally removed by CSU Trustees in 1996,” the coalition said in a news release. “Since then, CSU workers have faced a wage crisis, falling further behind their peers with no path of moving up from the bottom of their salary scale.”
System officials, meanwhile, say the group of 23 schools faces a $1.5 billion funding gap.
Steve Relyea, executive vice chancellor and CFO, said in a media call Wednesday that without action, “it will be the students who suffer most because we won’t be able to have the classes, the course sections, the student support,” as reported in the Los Angeles Times.
“What we’ve had to do is make very difficult decisions and trade-offs by making pretty serious cuts in expenditures in order to make ends meet,” he explained.
The organization Students For Quality Education, however, dispute that characterization of the system’s finances.
“It must be known that the CSU has the money to adequately fund its resources but they refuse to do so. Instead of providing their faculty and staff with reasonable wages we see CSU presidents getting massive raises and a new chancellor with an almost $1 million dollar salary,” the group wrote on Instagram. “They have billions in their bank and yet they make it the students burden to pay for their mistakes. UNACCEPTABLE!!”